The Bellvitge University Hospital has today inaugurated a new Dialysis Unit that replaces the previous facilities, and that modernizes and doubles the capacity of the facilities that the hospital had until now. The new unit, which occupies about 1,000 m2 on the -1 floor of the main building of the center, is equipped with the most advanced equipment and will increase activity and give a major boost to home dialysis. It will also provide more comfort and safety to patients, and boost innovation and research.
The works have lasted more than a year and have been the result of an innovative public tender of the Catalan Institute of Health, awarded to the company Palex Medical, where, among other things, the adequacy has been assessed. from the project to the needs of innovation and research.
With the new facilities, the Dialysis Unit of the Nephrology Service of the Bellvitge University Hospital now has 8 to 20 points for hemodialysis for chronic patients, 2 to 4 points for hemodialysis for isolated patients ( including a room with negative pressure), and 3 to 6 hemodialysis points for patients in conventional hospitalization. It also doubles the capacity of the area for implementing home techniques (peritoneal dialysis and home hemodialysis) and expands and renews the area for interventional nephrology, where renal biopsies and catheter placement are performed. . The new unit, like the previous one, has the most advanced hemodialysis equipment and, as a novelty, is equipped with a state-of-the-art hemodialysis water plant, with high-tech control and disinfection systems.
The Bellvitge Nephrology Service carries out around 10,000 hemodialysis sessions each year, half to hospitalized patients and the other half to chronically ill patients on an outpatient basis. The hospital estimates that the new facilities will allow outpatient sessions to increase from the current 5,000 to about 10,000. For their part, hospitalized patients will be able to see the number of sessions they had to do at night reduced to a minimum, which until now was close to half. In the case of patients in isolation, the new facilities will give them the maximum guarantees of safety.
On the other hand, the new spaces for the training of patients who are preparing for home dialysis will increase the number of people treated at home, in line with what is recommended by scientific societies and requested by patients. At Bellvitge Hospital, the peritoneal dialysis program - a technique that is always performed at home - already includes about 70 prevalent patients, while the innovative home hemodialysis programs, started in July 2019, already incorporate some 10 patients a year and the hospital hopes to be able to double that number thanks to the new facilities.
According to Dr. Josep M. Cruzado, head of the Nephrology Service at Bellvitge University Hospital, aims to make home techniques more than 20% of the total. "We know from studies," he said, "that patient empowerment and motivation for self-care are critical, and that their involvement is a key element in the success of a subsequent kidney transplant." In the same vein, Cruzado adds that the new Dialysis Unit “has been designed to revolve around the patient; we want the patient to be involved in decision-making and for him, with the support of the healthcare professionals, to choose the best replacement treatment technique until the time of the transplant ”.
In the field of innovation, Cruzado emphasizes that the new Dialysis Unit "wants to be a leader in both Catalonia and Spain in technological innovation and care process, without forgetting research, especially in home care projects." Chronic kidney disease makes the kidneys unable to naturally eliminate toxins that build up in the blood. In its advanced stages, replacement therapy is needed, the most effective of which is kidney transplantation.
However, patients who cannot receive a kidney or are waiting for an organ should be treated in the meantime with hemodialysis or peritoneal dialysis. Bellvitge Hospital is a leader in kidney transplants in Spain (with 196 interventions performed in 2019, and 148 performed in 2020 despite the pandemic), but, despite the high activity of this and other Catalan centers, it is far still being able to offer a transplant in a short period of time to all dialysis patients.